Hey! Now that we’ve gotten your attention with our greenwash-y, SEO-friendly title (thanks, Google), you should know that while there’s no such thing as “eco-friendly” tampons, here’s what to be wise on when you’re shopping so you can pick the best option for you, the planet, and the people making your stuff.
The average American who menstruates will use over 16,000 tampons throughout their lifetime. It is estimated that in 2018 alone, people in the U.S. bought 5.8 billion tampons. This is pretty alarming when you consider the fact that the vast majority of those tampons will end up in landfills as plastic waste.
WHAT TO BE WISE ON:
Today, most conventional tampons contain plastic in their wrappers, applicators, strings, and sometimes even have a thin layer of plastic in the absorbent part itself. That’s a whole lot of plastic sitting first inside our bodies and then in landfills. Although some applicators are technically made of recyclable materials, they are usually not accepted by recycling plants for sanitary reasons. Look for applicator-free tampons to avoid contributing unnecessarily to plastic waste.
A FEW TAKEAWAYS:
We love applicator-free, chlorine-free, fragrance-free tampons made out of organic cotton. Conventional cotton can contain nasty pesticide residues that can lead to endocrine disruption and cancer, and trust us — you don’t want fragrances or chlorine bleach anywhere near your hoo-ha.
THE FACTORS TO CONSIDER:
Choose tampons made out of organic cotton. Conventional cotton can contain nasty pesticide residues that can lead to endocrine disruption and cancer.
We recommend fragrance-free tampons. Fragrances can contain undisclosed chemicals associated with allergic reactions, endocrine disruption, and cancer.
Ditch the applicator! A Life Cycle Assessment performed on tampons by the Royal Institute of Technology revealed that the largest environmental impact of tampons comes from the production of plastic applicators made of LDPE (low-density polyethylene).
The plastic incorporated into tampons today is there for convenience rather than necessity. Look for applicator-free tampons to avoid contributing unnecessarily to plastic waste.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
For tampons made with organic cotton, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified ones are the best. GOTS is the most rigorous certification, ensuring compliance with strict social and environmental standards across the entire supply chain.
For conventional cotton tampons, OEKO-TEX certifications ensure that the product does not contain chemicals detrimental to human health.